News Corp buys stake in Elara Technologies
NewYork based mainstream media giant, News Corp, has acquired a sizable minority stake in Elara Technologies, the Singapore-based parent company of Indian real estate marketing platform, PropTiger.com, for $30 million. Additionally, established investors who are partnered with SAIF, Accel and Horizon Ventures have decided to add another $7 million to their existing investment in Elara.
News Corp has a major presence in online real estate through its ownership of Move, Inc.,which operates realtor.com®, and its majority stake in REA Group Limited (“REA”), which operates the Australian residential property website, realestate.com.au.
Dhruv Agarwala, co-founder of PropTiger.com, said, “We are delighted to have News Corp as our partner. Under the leadership of Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch and Chief Executive Robert Thomson, News Corp brings digital real estate know-how, product experience and content expertise that will help us drive product innovation, customer engagement and traffic growth.”
Involved in the investment, Raju Narisetti who is Senior Vice President of Strategy at News Corp, has joined the board of Elara. Commenting on this development, Agarwala said, “Raju’s world class experience in managing digital businesses of The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, and his India expertise as founder and editor of Mint, now India’s second-largest business newspaper, will add significant strength to the board of Elara.”
Dhruv Agarwala and Kartik Varma, who attended Harvard Business School together, joined Prashan Agarwal, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian School of Business, to found PropTiger.com in February 2011. Since then, PropTiger.com has enjoyed a presence in the major Indian real estate markets and has become popular among Indian home buyers.
Talking numbers, Agarwala said, “PropTiger.com has over 250 developer partners who market their new developments through the online platform. We have established a solid track record of performance with at least 10,000 properties worth over US$1 billion having been purchased through PropTiger.com.”
Mentioning the needs of home buyers, co-founder Prashan Agarwal said, “Lack of accurate information is a major challenge for home buyers. Since inception we have made a significant investment in ensuring quality of data and introduced multiple data led innovations, such as livability scores to compare properties in a neighborhood, a property portfolio tracker to keep a watch on performance of property investments, price estimates to bring transparency in the resale market and up-to-date construction and neighborhood pictures.”
Accel partner, Prashanth Prakash, commented, “PropTiger.com is the one real estate portal in India that truly addresses customers’ pain points by providing a tailored end-to-end experience through the entire customer journey beginning from search to selection and all the way to transaction closure.”
Managing Partner of SAIF Partners, Ravi Adusumalli added, “Mobile properties of PropTiger.com have performed extremely well since launch. Its traffic from mobile has already reached 40% of its total traffic. With growing numbers of mobile internet users in India, we are excited about PropTiger.com’s ability to scale rapidly.”
According to India Brand Equity Foundation, the number of new residental launches in the first quarter of 2014 expanded by 43 percent with 55,000 units spanning eight cities. Bengaluru recorded the most units launched, with an increase of 22 percent at 16,838 units. Mumbai and Chennai trail closely behind with new launches at 10,698 units and 7,436 units and growth rates of 93 percent and 191 percent respectively.